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Title: Electro-acupuncture for central obesity: a patient-assessor blinded, randomized sham-controlled clinical trial
Authors: Lam, Tsz Fung
Lyu, Zipan
Wu, Xingyao
Wong, Yi Ping
Cao, Peihua
Wong, Emily Yen
Hung, Hung Bun
Zhang, Shiping
Bian, Zhaoxiang
Zhong, Linda Lidan
Keywords: Medicine, Health and Life Sciences
Issue Date: 2024
Source: Lam, T. F., Lyu, Z., Wu, X., Wong, Y. P., Cao, P., Wong, E. Y., Hung, H. B., Zhang, S., Bian, Z. & Zhong, L. L. (2024). Electro-acupuncture for central obesity: a patient-assessor blinded, randomized sham-controlled clinical trial. BMC Complementary Medicine and Therapies, 24(1), 62-.
Journal: BMC complementary medicine and therapies 
Abstract: Background: Central obesity is considered as a significant health threat to individuals. Scientific research has demonstrated that intra-abdominal fat accumulation is associated with higher metabolic and cardiovascular disease risks independent of Body Mass Index (BMI). This study aimed to evaluate the efficacy and safety of electro-acupuncture in treating central obesity compared with sham acupuncture. Method: This was a patient-assessor blinded, randomized, sham-controlled clinical trial. One hundred sixty eight participants aged between 18 and 65 years old with BMI ≥ 25 kg/m2 and waist circumference (WC) of men ≥ 90 cm / women ≥ 80 cm were enrolled and allocated to the acupuncture or sham acupuncture group equally. For the acupuncture group, disposable acupuncture needles were inserted into eight body acupoints, including Tianshu (ST-25), Daheng (SP-15), Daimai (GB-26), Qihai (CV-6), Zhongwan (CV-12), Zusanli (ST-36), Fenglong (ST-40), and Sanyinjiao (SP-6) with electrical stimulation. For the control group, Streitberger’s non-invasive acupuncture needles were utilized at the same acupoints with identical stimulation modalities. The treatment duration was 8 weeks with 2 sessions per week and the follow-up period was 8 weeks. The primary outcome was the change in WC before and after the treatment. The secondary outcomes were the changes in hip circumference, waist-to-hip circumference ratio, BMI, and body fat percentage during the treatment and follow-up period. Results: The acupuncture group displayed a significant change in WC compared to the sham group both treatment and follow-up period (MD = -1.1 cm, 95% CI = -2.8 to 4.1). Significant change in body fat percentage was recorded for both groups after treatment but no significance was observed during the follow-up period (MD = -0.1%, 95% CI = -1.9 to 2.2). The changes in hip circumference were also significant both treatment and follow-up period for the acupuncture group (MD = -2.0 cm, 95% CI = -3.7 to -1.7). Compared with sham acupuncture, the body weight (MD = -1 kg, 95% CI = -3.3 to 5.3), BMI (MD = -0.5, 95% CI = -0.7 to 1.9) also decreased significantly within and between groups. The incidence of adverse events was similar in the two groups. Conclusion: This study provided evidence that electro-acupuncture could be effective in treating central obesity by reducing WC, hip circumference, body weight, BMI, and waist-to-hip circumference ratio. Trial registration: Identifier: NCT03815253, Registered 24 Jan 2019.
ISSN: 2662-7671
DOI: 10.1186/s12906-024-04340-5
Schools: School of Biological Sciences 
Rights: © The Author(s) 2024. Open Access. This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated in a credit line to the data.
Fulltext Permission: open
Fulltext Availability: With Fulltext
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